I am indeed ashamed to admit that I haven’t ready anywhere near enough of the sort of things our heroes and heroines would have had in their libraries. Now my sins are coming home to me, because I’m writing a hero who insists on being very well-read. I am hoping that reading more of what he has eagerly devoured will help me get into his head. (Or maybe I’m just procrastinating, but that’s another post!)
This is why I’m currently slogging through Paradise Lost. It’s something I’ve just heard referenced too many times and I feel a dunce for not knowing it. Some of it is slogging, especially the long passages full of more allusions that make me feel still more ignorant. But I am nothing if not stubborn and there are some rewarding gems in there.
Being slightly obsessive-compulsive (OK, maybe more than slightly!) I’m trying to come up with a list of works that will at least help me fake a broader knowledge of literature prior to 1820.
One area I need to brush up on is the classics. My O-C tendency isn’t quite strong enough to make me learn Greek or Latin but I’d like to read at least a few works in translation. Somehow I think having viewed some of those old Technicolor movies based on mythology isn’t going to help me here!
Re Shakespeare, I’ve read Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth, Julius Caesar and Othello, and seen quite a few more, but there are quite a few plays I haven’t experienced either way. King Lear and The Tempest are a few that come to mind. (More shame on me!)
Another area is novels; this hero doesn’t despise a good novel. I’ve read everything by Austen and a goodly few by Scott but I haven’t read anything earlier. (It is a disgrace, I know.)
Re poetry–I’ve read some of the Lake poets but nothing by Byron. (Gasp!)
So two questions for the Riskies and visitors:
1) Which works would you recommend I read in the cause of developing my bookish hero? The ones that will help me look better-read than I am but are also the most interesting, thought-provoking?
2) Am I getting too obsessive-compulsive here? On second thought, maybe I don’t want to know! If it helps, it helps. I am writing, too.
LADY DEARING’S MASQUERADE, RT Reviewers’ Choice Award, Best Regency Romance of 2005